Paper Industry - Statistics & Facts

Paper is an important material, used daily for many purposes worldwide. The global production of paper and cardboard stood at approximately 419.7 million metric tons in 2017. More than half of that production was attributable to packaging paper, while almost one third was attributable to graphic paper. The world's three largest paper producing countries are China, the United States, and Japan. These three countries account for more than half of the world’s total paper production, while the leading paper importing and exporting countries are Germany and the United States.

The leading companies of the forestry and paper industry based on market capitalization as of 2019 were Brookfield Infrastructure and UPM Kymmene, based in Canada and Finland, respectively. In 2018, International Paper, one of the largest paper companies worldwide, generated 23.3 billion U.S. dollars of revenue, while Kimberly-Clark made around 18.5 billion. Other leading paper industry companies include the Indonesia-based Asia Pulp and Paper, Svenska Cellulosa of Sweden, Stora Enso and UPM-Kymmene from Finland, as well as Oji Paper and Nippon Paper Group from Japan.

With some 423.3 million metric tons of paper consumed globally in 2017, the world's paper consumption is roughly equal to the amount of paper produced annually. China is the world's largest paper and paperboard consumer in the world, using more than 113 million metric tons annually, followed by the U.S. with a consumption rate of nearly 71 million metric tons. North America, however, has the world’s highest per capita consumption of paper of any region, consuming 213 kilograms per capita, which is given context when compared to the world average per capita consumption of paper of just 57 kilograms per year.

Since paper can be classified as a renewable resource, recovery is crucial within the paper industry. Paper, among many materials, has one of the highest recycling rates. In the United States, nearly 53 million short tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2018. The paper and paperboard recovery rate in the U.S. was 68.1 percent in 2018, which is double the 1990 recovery rate of less than 34 percent.

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Paper industry

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U.S. paper industry key facts


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